In the Aug. 15 edition of The Chieftain, the editor reminded us that the press in rural America has a critical role to play; namely, the public has access to its editor and the newspaper pays attention to its various constituencies.

Anyone can see that this is a diverse county with wide-ranging viewpoints exercised through letters to the editor, columnists and stories on any topic you might imagine.

I value the opportunity to stop by The Chieftain office and bend the ear of its editor, to raise questions about subjects I don’t understand but wish to understand because I wasn’t raised on a farm or a ranch.

Virtually all of us who came here since the 1880s were once “outsiders” but want to be considered a part of this community. We rely heavily on our local newspaper, and the good will of friends and neighbors, to give us the necessary information to grasp the ways of life here.

Our newspaper reports the good and the bad, the colorful and the less colorful events of our lives. It reports about the county fair, its deficiencies as well as its benefits to the young and old alike who reside in our county. I get inspired to attend concerts or to look for a species of bird that hasn’t crossed my path before.

The Chieftain, along with newspapers across the country, provides ample opportunity for citizens to express themselves on topics of current interest or controversy. Otherwise it would be too easy to keep our heads in the sand, to forget the very reasons our country was founded.

For those of us who may have forgotten this part of our high school history lessons, I offer an excerpt from our Constitution:

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; ...

These are vital freedoms that protect us, as citizens, from losing our voices in the larger din of the crowd.

Judy Allen


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